Donald Trump claims to be above the law. That is a matter of opinion, however since he has selectively placed his lackeys such as William Barr in key positions, for the moment, it seems to be the case that he cannot be held accountable. The exception, of course, would be if Congress would use their Constitutional oversight authority, but with the likes of Mitchell McConnell in the position of Senate Majority Leader, that seems highly unlikely. So, okay, Donald Trump is effectively, though not legally, above the law.
But Trump is not alone. Attorney General William Barr has placed himself effectively, though not legally, above the law by refusing to answer a subpoena issued by the House of Representatives. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross claims immunity from the law, as he too refused to respond to a subpoena by the House. How many others? I’ve lost count. But this latest one … this is too much.
Trump’s personal mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, has been found by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to be in violation of the Hatch Act. The Office of Special Counsel is led by a Trump appointee, Henry J. Kerner, and it was he who testified before the House Oversight Panel last month that Kellyanne had violated the Hatch Act not just once, but repeatedly, and he called on Trump to terminate Ms. Conway’s employment. Trump immediately refused to do so.
The Hatch Act, for those who may not be familiar with it, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials, from engaging in some forms of political activity.
The counsel states that Conway participated in media interviews and used her social media accounts, with her title, to engage in activity affecting the midterm elections. She has also made a number of remarks aimed at 2020 democratic presidential candidates including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden. She has also openly endorsed Trump’s re-election. According to the letter by Mr. Kerner …
“Ms. Conway’s advocacy against the Democratic candidates and open endorsement of the President’s reelection effort during both official media appearances and on her Twitter account constitute prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act.”
Not once, not twice, but multiple times. Remember when she almost got in trouble for urging people, on television, to buy from Ivanka Trump’s clothing line? Kellyanne doesn’t seem to learn. But then, she has Trump to bail her out, so why does she need to try to ‘do the right thing’?
Kellyanne was cordially invited to testify, to present her side if she had one, before the House Oversight Committee, but “the White House” declined the invitation on her behalf. So, committee chairman Elijah Cummings issued a subpoena. And guess what? She defied the subpoena. Therefore, we can only conclude that Kellyanne also considers herself to be above the law.
Now, here’s the thing, folks. Trump said during his 2016 campaign that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York and shoot somebody, and he would get by with it. When he said it, we all rolled our eyes and said, “Yeah, right, Bozo.” But today, it is no laughing matter, for he has declared himself above the law and his lackeys, including the United States Department of Justice, will support him. And now, that privilege extends to his entire staff, all the way down to his paid mouthpiece.
But let me tell you something. If I stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York, or my street in Podunk USA and shoot someone, I will be immediately put to death by police who shoot first and ask questions later. If I am issued a subpoena by a federal agency and I defy that subpoena, I will be shot dead by police who will claim I was resisting arrest (because I would be resisting, but that’s a minor detail).
If the likes of Trump and Conway are not held accountable to the very laws that they have sworn to uphold, then is there any law & justice in the United States? Trump has stated that Article II of the United States Constitution gives him the authority to do “whatever I want”. It doesn’t, but somebody has to draw the line. Typically, that would fall to the Attorney General and Congress, but we cannot count on either. So, if Kellyanne is immune, and William Barr is immune, then it must follow that any and all of Trump’s cabinet members are immune from being held accountable … for anything.
If that isn’t enough, coupled with Trump’s atrocious racist running commentary against four members of the House of Representatives for the past 48 hours on Twitter, and coupled with Robert Mueller’s citation of no less than ten incidences of obstruction of justice by Trump … if all that isn’t enough for the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry, then I don’t know why we even have a Congress! To the members of the House, I say: Off your asses, folks … it’s showtime! It’s now or never! Use it or lose it!!!
And, to add a bit of humour to the topic, if that’s possible, I have invited Mr. Seth Meyers to contribute his take on the topic.